A Passion for SMART Learning Will Earn You the CPLP: 5 Tips for CPLP Prep

Thursday, September 28, 2017

It all started when I wanted to validate my expertise as an L&D professional with more than nine years of experience. I started looking around for ways to demonstrate my TD expertise, and that’s when I came across the Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) certification.

I started to plan my study strategy, but somewhere along the way I began to think that I had spent many hours browsing and assembling study materials but had only collected materials for one competency. I needed to stop at that point and review my mechanism for preparation. That’s when I purchased the ATD Learning System—it was structured and detailed, covered all the competencies, and most important, allowed me to stop browsing and start preparing.

“Failure to plan is planning to fail” is a great quote to motivate yourself for focused preparation. I started to put together a SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound) study plan so that there was a balance between my job, family, and CPLP preparation. My study plan initially focused on how to complete the entire learning system with proper understanding and ample time for each module. I developed a plan to complete 15 pages a day, so it would take me somewhere around 60 days to complete the learning system.


It was also important to review my journey periodically, and study and do a self-assessment every week. One among many best practices that helped me was to take my own notes from the learning system. This helped me study the key focus areas with ease. Sticking to the plan and proper study sessions was the strategy that made me confident to take the self-assessments.

When I learned all the competencies, I revisited my original purpose to understand what had I gained. My nine years of experience have trained me to approach a situation in a systematic pattern, addressing specifics rather than being general. This habit immediately enhanced my focus.

Here are my five top tips for CPLP preparation:

  1. Creating your study plan is the key. Make it SMART.
  2. Take your own notes while you learn. This helps with quick review.
  3. A weekly review of your study patterns and completed portions will enhance your understanding and dip-check your study plan strategy.
  4. Whatever happens, stick to your study plan as much as possible to ensure that you have enough time to review material before the exam.
  5. Synchronize your work environment to your studying—practice new ideas at work while learning the concepts, leading to easy understanding.

Thanks to ATD for the transformation that the CPLP has brought me. Hopefully, with these tips, you can begin your own journey!
Learn more about the CPLP Certification. 

About the Author
Syed Azharudin was recognized as one of the top 100 global training and development professionals when he received the Global Training & Development Leadership Award from the World HRD Congress in 2017. He is an expert in talent development, performance management, and mapping learning achievements with business goals. He has partnered with businesses in strategic L&D partner roles to meet business priorities through learning and process implementations. He is also an expert in nationalization development programs. Syed holds an engineering degree in information technology from Anna University, Chennai, India. He is a Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP). Some of his other accreditations include Certified Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Practitioner by the American Board of NLP and the International Hypnosis Association, Certified for Core Facilitation Skills for Leadership by the Institute of Leadership Management, and many other institutional certifications from The City and Guilds of London. Syed established his career as an entrepreneur in India, then became training manager for Max Fashions. Currently, he is the country training manager for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for Bateel International.
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